Home > Beverly Hills, Lanes > Beverly Hills: Grade-separated bike lanes for Santa Monica Blvd?

Beverly Hills: Grade-separated bike lanes for Santa Monica Blvd?

What is a bike lane supposed to look like?

Los Angeles mostly seems to think they should be to the left of parked cars and to the right of moving cars, with nothing but a bit of paint to separate them. This paradigm hardly makes riders feel safe, and really limits the kinds of cyclists who take to the streets. Other cities, many of them overseas, but more recently in Portland, New York, and a few others, have taken a different tack. They’ve separated cycling lanes from travel lanes. Sometimes they use a curb or sidewalk, sometimes they use parked cars, and sometimes they build a different path altogether. Here in L.A., though, we just haven’t done that, aside from the few “Class I” paths you’ll find scattered at the beach and rivers.

As it happens, Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills is up for a twelve-million dollar makeover. The city has expressed some interest in adding bicycle lanes on at least one side of the boulevard, probably the south side, with “all options open” for a second lane on the north side, or Carmelita Avenue, the next street up. Given the examples of the many non-grade-separated protected bike lanes in this city, it was with some surprise that I heard this bit from Beverly Hills council member Nancy Krasne at a study session last week (around 33:30):

If you really, really want a bike lane on Santa Monica Boulevard, I suggest where the bike lane is, that we find a way to either raise it up at a higher level than the road, so that the bike lane is higher than the street — and it’s marked “Bike Lane” — and that somebody that starts to drift into it is going to be touching something … and the bikes are a little safer.

I was so delighted to hear this idea of a grade-separated protected bike lane that I fired off a letter to Krasne today. Who knew that Beverly Hills, the “black hole” of bicycle infrastructure in our city, might have a real advocate for first-class lanes?!

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Categories: Beverly Hills, Lanes
  1. JOe
    September 30, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    That’s great for through traffic. Will this lane-in-the-sky have sufficient entrances and exits to make it useful for local traffic as well?

    • September 30, 2010 at 2:35 PM

      Ha. I may be playing fast-and-loose with the term “grade separated,” which often refers to overpasses and the like. In this case, I think Krasne was referring to raising the bike lane to the level of a sidewalk, or somewhere in the range of six inches above the tarmac. It’s certainly better than paint.

      • JOe
        September 30, 2010 at 8:10 PM

        Whups, I misunderstood. Yeah, that’s clearly what he meant.

  2. Joseph E
    September 30, 2010 at 4:39 PM

    That’s not grade separated, it’s more like a European cycle track, which are often next to the sidewalk at the same level, or about 6 inches above the roadway.

    You can get almost the same effect by adding a 1/2 foot wide, 6 inch high curb, perhaps with some bollards (short poles) to further discourage cars from drifting right. With a curb, parking could be to the left of the bike route (Protected bike path?), if there is parking in that section. This would be cheaper, too; you would only need to add the curb, rather than rebuilding the whole lane, and it would make it easier for bikes to merge left into the road for turns, or to get around obstacles (like cars illegally parked in the bike path)

    • September 30, 2010 at 4:48 PM

      Beverly Hills prevents parking along the entire length of Santa Monica Boulevard. But it’s certain that drivers would use a bike lane for any purpose they could.

  3. September 30, 2010 at 9:40 PM

    Cycling on work commutes saves the public general tax fund thousands of dolors, while driving a car costs the public tax fund thousands of dollors!

    “The average driver travels 10,000 miles in town each year and contributes $324 in taxes and direct fees. The cost to the public, including direct costs and externalities, is a whopping $3,360.” (read full article in link)http://www.grist.org/article/2010-09-27-why-an-additional-road-tax-for-bicyclists-would-be-unfair

  4. Cindy Foran
    June 10, 2011 at 3:49 PM

    Is this really slated to happen? It’s 2011, I live in BH, work in Century City, bike to work and have not yet heard anything about this proposed bike lane deal.
    Where is there more real time info on it?

    • June 10, 2011 at 10:35 PM

      Better Bike Beverly Hills has some more detailed information. It’s not clear to me that we’ll actually get a protected bike lane, but a bicycle lane is on the table. For your purposes, it’ll be a boon, and any help we can get to make it a reality is much needed!

      I have a similar commute to yours, though I walk.

  1. September 29, 2010 at 6:56 AM
  2. September 29, 2010 at 5:51 PM
  3. September 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM
  4. September 30, 2010 at 6:02 PM

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